Georgia It will take several hours to pass through Georgia on US Route 1, yet it only passes through one large city, Augusta, at the very northern end of the state, and ends at Folkston a very small town, on the southern end. It is a rural route, passing through many small towns and villages and large plantations with large fields that produce enormous quantities of cotton, winter wheat, corn, soybeans and peanuts. Georgia proudly produces more peanuts than any other state in the country, and Vadalia, Georgia produces the sweet and coveted Vadalia onions in the spring. US Route 1 has remained inland since Connecticut, but in Waycross, Georgia, it begins an easterly route to the Florida coast, where it will remain until its end in Key West. For now, enjoy the beautiful rich, red clay and large fields that make up Georgia. If you were inclined to take a side trip while in Georgia, Savannah is a beautiful old city that is well worth the time. Take US Route 16 West in Oak Park; it will bring you into Savannah and the beautiful area of Tybee Island. There are a multitude of things to do in Savannah, including visiting the "Garden of Good and Evil" and numerous tours around this beautiful coastal city. Okay, it’s almost the final leg of your trip south on Route 1-a few miles an you will be in Florida-and you thought Georgia was a long state!
Hiking in Maine There are many opportunities to take side hiking trips from Route 1 in Maine and see parts of Maine that few see. Many parts of Route 1 in Maine are designated as Scenic Byways and many of them offer hiking trails. Even if you opt to just walk a stretch of rocky coastline, you are seeing parts of Maine that few visitors see. Cobscook Bay, northwest of Machias, Maine is an incredibly beautiful spot that is almost ignored by visitors to Maine. The tides here are amazing; the low tide is really low and when the tide turns, you’d better be running for shore! The tides this far north are fast and wild and you had better be prepared, whether you are beachcombing or kayaking. Winter Harbor and Corea exist on a lovely and quiet peninsula west of Bar Harbor and parts of the peninsula are part of Acadia National Park. Even if you aren’t into geology, the rock formations here are sure to grab your attention. Schoodic Point is an amazing place; plan a long picnic here and make sure your camera battery is fully charged. Acadia National Park has some of the finest non-mountain hiking in Maine. Yes, you can hike up Cadillac Mountain, but it’s just not the same as taking on Katahdin in Baxter State Park. In August, you’re bound to find plenty of wild blueberries along the trails. In September, the weather is still lovely and the blueberry plants change into a bright red.
Maine US Route 1, the easternmost continuous highway in the United States, begins in Ft. Kent, Maine at the Clair-Ft. Kent Bridge. It follows the Canadian border down to Calais and then heads southwest, along the scenic Maine coastline. Many towns and villages have a scenic route, designated route A1A that runs closer to the ocean’s edge. The rocky shores of the eastern Maine coast gradually offer a few small beaches between Calais and Rockport, most notably Sand Beach in Acadia National Park. Regardless of the season, the Atlantic Ocean off the coast off Maine is always icy cold and not known for swimming. Acadia National Park is a wildly beautiful place with everything a National Park should have: wild surf, rocky cliffs, carriage roads to walk or ride bikes on, a mountain can be climbed in car and incredible vistas of islands just off shore. Rockland, Camden and Boothbay Harbor are all right on Route 1 and are a Mecca for antique hunters, kayakers, golfers, birders, sailing and small town festivities; not to mention a great place to have a real "lobstah dinnah". Freeport is Maine’s outlet shopping heaven. L. L. Bean opened his shop here in Freeport many years ago and it’s grown to enormous proportions. All major stores have an outlet here in Freeport, taking advantage of L. L. Bean’s draw. Once you are below Casco Bay, the beaches abound. Beautiful white sands that stretch for miles can be found in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport-home of the Bush’s compound, Walker’s Point. Ogunquit Beach, Moody Beach and Wells beach are all lovely beaches and are generally not crowded. The most famous of the beaches is Old Orchard Beach, knows by the natives as simply OOB. Kids, young and old love OOB’s boardwalk, food and rides and the seven mile wide beach. You’re not far from the New Hampshire coast here; a bridge over the Portsmouth River and you’re there.
New York - New Jersey - Pennsylvania - Maryland - Virginia Driving US 1 through New York City won’t take much of your gas, but it might take a great deal of time in the City’s stop and go traffic. You will only be in New York for about twenty miles; as soon as you cross the Hudson River on the George Washington Bridge, you are in New Jersey. You should have spectacular views of New York City from the George Washington Bridge as well as from Fort Lee, New Jersey. US 1 joins US 9 in Ft. Lee through Newark and Elizabeth, before separating in Iselin, where US 1 goes straight south, and inland, to New Brunswick and down to Trenton. After crossing the Pennsylvania River, you are in Morrisville, Pennsylvania. US 1 continues south through many miles of Pennsylvania to Maryland, bypassing Delaware by only a few miles. US Route 1 goes right through Baltimore and leads right into Washington D. C., very close to the Capital Building. If you don’t like interstate driving, this would be a good alternative to get into the City. As you cross the Potomac River in Washington, you will come into Arlington, Virginia. Staying parallel to I-95, US Route 1 will take you through Fredericksburg and Richmond, before splitting off to parallel I-85 in Petersburg to the border of North Carolina. If you’d like to take a spectacular side trip, take I-64 from Richmond out to Norfolk and Newport News. Virginia Beach offers spectacular beaches and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge can be exciting for its length and that there is a tunnel as well as a bridge.
The Florida Keys There is no way not to be awed when visiting the Florida Keys. The Keys are like nowhere else on earth in their beauty, peculiarity, their congeniality and their personality. It seems as though my body and mind instantly relax as I drive through Key Largo; just knowing I am going further down into the heaven called the Keys. Route 1 is the only road from Key Largo to Key West and it is awesome. It passes through small villages, small hummocks of mangrove trees, intermixed with tiny beaches. Fisherman, in shorts, cast for mangrove snapper and yellowtail, while boats with flat-bottoms and guides work their way through the flats in search of the elusive bonefish. Everywhere, the water is a different and beautiful color: green, turquoise, sapphire, and beige. On the left is the Atlantic Ocean, shallow and various shades of blue; on the right is Florida Bay and then the Gulf of Mexico; murky yet beautiful in shades of green, beige and tan. Islands dot the landscape in the Gulf, as do boats seeking pleasure or fish, or both. The drive to Key West could not ever be described as bad. It is beautiful; something new around every bend or over every bridge, especially the seven-mile bridge. Pelicans, ungainly yet graceful, glide beside your car as you speed along the highway. Islamorada and Marathon are the only places that slow traffic down on the way to Key West. Just north of Marathon is a place where you can swim with the dolphins at the Dolphin Research Center. Key West finally emerges. It is a bustling place with lots of people, lots of shops and lots of restaurants. Take a deep breath and plunge in!
North and South Carolina US 1 slices North Carolina down the middle as it makes its way from Wise, just over the northern border, to Rockingham, ten miles from the South Caroline border. Skirting Raleigh, Route 1 travels through many small towns, like Colon, Lemon Springs, Whispering Pines and Niagara before the Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve and Fort Bragg. The terrain here is gently rolling green hills. A few more small towns before Rockingham and then you cross the State border of South Carolina. Scenery abounds on Route 1 in South Carolina between Cheraw and Columbia, including the Carolina Sandhills National Wildlife Reserve. Forested hills through this region offer wonderful scenic views and there are a few picnic areas where you can enjoy a break from the driving. As in North Carolina, US Route 1 bisects the South Carolina through the middle. From Columbia, in the center of the State, to Augusta, just over the Georgia border, lie more small towns and gently rolling hills. Just north of Graniteville lies the Sumter National Forest, a historically important location, especially during the Civil War. US Route 1 leads you through Augusta, Georgia, home of the Augusta National Golf Course, where famous golfers play the Masters every spring. If you’re dying to see beautiful Hilton Head Island, take Route 25 from Columbia and join I-95 south to the exit to Hilton Head. It is quite a long way, but for a golfer, it’s time well spent!
New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut US Route 1 from Portsmouth New Hampshire to Seabrook, New Hampshire is inland from ocean access. To go to Rye Beach or Hampton Beach, you must take A1A. In just a few miles you enter Massachusetts at Hampton Falls. From there to Newburyport, which is a ten minute drive, you are as close to the ocean and you will be until Providence, Rhode Island. You will drive right through Boston on US 1; be prepared. Boston is one of the hardest cities to get around in! Be sure and have a Boston city map in your hands as you attempt this city! Of course you can circumvent the city by picking up I-95 in Wakefield and getting back on US1 in Islington. From Boston to Providence US1 runs parallel with I-95. In Providence, US 1 heads south and follows the coastline; if you want to see the ultra-rich mansions in Newport, take route 138 after Allentown. From Jerusalem you will cover many miles of a designated Scenic Byway that follows the beautiful coastline. To see Misquamicut State Beach, take 1A at General Stanton’s Monument. Route 1A will bring you back to US1 at the Connecticut border. If terrific views of the Atlantic call to you, US 1 runs parallel to the coast through Connecticut. There are numerous short road trips that will take you to the many bays, points and beaches here. You will pass through three main cities; New London, New Haven and Bridgeport.
US Route 1 It begins in Fort Kent, Maine and ends at Key West, Florida, a total of 2,390 miles, and is the most easterly continuous highway of the Federal Highway System - US Route 1. US Route 1 was designated as a national highway in 1926, with parts renumbered from other routes, and is the most visually diverse highway in the country. In less than 2,400 miles, a driver can go from below zero temperatures and snow, to cherry blossoms in Washington DC to swimming in 78 degree water in South Miami Beach to visiting Hemingway’s favorite hangouts in Key West. If one were to drive continuously, they could make the trip in 34 hours. Imagine going from a freezing cold, windy Maine winter to a Florida Keys beach chair comfortably, while never leaving the ground! It seems impossible to believe that a person can go from a jeans, turtleneck shirt, winter coat, mittens and boots to a bathing suit in just a few hours, but air travel was created for just that reason. Packing a bag to go to Florida from Maine in the winter means packing light; packing to go from Florida to Maine in January means just the opposite. Who needs LL Bean boots when you live in Florida? You only need them if you are traveling by car, via US Route 1 and might want to sample the trails along the way north. There are many opportunities along the way to get off onto some hiking trails and enjoys areas of the country that others ride by in the cars. Don’t be afraid to get off the beaten trail and explore!
Florida Mainland Route 1 enters into Florida with little fan fair and no town for a few miles. A small town emerges finally; Hillard, and it is the only town you see until you get to Jacksonville. Finally-you are in Florida! From now on, it is going to be hard to stay on course. Route 1 follows the coastline, but A1A follows it closer. Be aware that traffic on US 1 will be slow; A1A will be slower. Jacksonville is still inland several miles; you won’t actually be close to the Atlantic coast until St. Augustine. Once you get to Daytona, you will be next to the beaches for a long, long stretch. Don’t expect traffic to move at any great speed. If your plans include Orlando, you will want to take I-4 from Daytona into Orlando. Otherwise, continue down US 1 as it hugs the magnificent wide beaches through Titusville, Merritt Island and Melbourne. You’ve traveled so far-stop and walk a few of the glorious public beaches all along the coast. Jensen, Juno and Jupiter beaches are incredible and there are rarely any people there! As you go further south, this will no longer be the case. Ft. Lauderdale Beach is long, but not very wide, but you’ll see plenty of tiny bikinis and drunken college students. Fear not; they are all friendly and there are many things to do in Ft. Lauderdale, including a great IMAX theater and Riverwalk. Between Ft. Lauderdale and South Beach are many beaches; one blends into another. The only sign you’ll see on the beach itself is "no glass bottles" and in Hallover State Park, "Be aware that you may see nude people". To get out to South Beach, you must take I-195 or I-395 in Miami. A nice side trip is to go out to Biscayne National Park and go snorkeling, or go west to Everglades National Park and see more alligators than you ever dreamed possible. It is possible, and enjoyable to do both of these parks in one long day. From Miami, continue south on US 1 all the way to Key Largo, the entrance to the incredible Keys!
Southern Maine US Route 1 is a very special place south of Portland, Maine. It is special everywhere, but exceptional here. Route 1 from Portland south is almost completely covered by white sand beaches; there are several beautiful State Parks: Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth, Crescent Beach State Park just below Cape Elizabeth and Ferry Beach State Park in Saco, not to mention the incredible beaches of Cape Porpoise, Wells, York and Kittery. Eastern Maine is noted for its rocky coastline, where the surf crashes against the rocks, sending spray into the cold Maine air. Central Coastal Maine is noted for its beautiful bays and ports, where sailboats wait in port for the next wind; but southern Maine is known for its beautiful beaches and high-priced real estate. The Bush family’s ancestral fortress is here in Kennebunkport and it is possible to see the huge compound from Route 1. You can’t get there from here, but you can see it. Coastal Route 1 and A1A is slow traveling, but it is a hoot to see some on the mansions, smell the sea roses and the salt in the air. In Old Orchard, there is an unwritten law that you have to walk the boardwalk, have your fortune told and ride one of the rickety rides before dipping your feet into water that never sees 35 degrees! Any clam or lobster roll is bound to be overpriced but absolutely delicious and there is a Maine guarantee that you will have sand in your underwear for at least three months!